vintage illustration of Satan tempting Jesus at the Temple

The Temptation of Jesus According to the Gospel of Luke

The Gospel Account

The Temptation of Jesus is an account of Jesus entering the wilderness to fast and pray before He begins His public ministry.

The devil appears and tempts Jesus three times to get Jesus to abandon His work of preaching, teaching, and healing.

Jesus refutes the devil each time, using God’s own Word to counter the devil’s temptations.

Afterward, the devil departs for another time.

You can find the story of the Temptation of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, verses 1-13.

Click on this link to view the Gospel passage using the New American Bible translation.

The Five Decades

When you pray the five decades of this Rosary Reflection, use these five events from the Gospel.

First Decade: Jesus in the Wilderness (Luke 4:1-2)

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.

Second Decade: The Temptation of Self-Satisfaction (Luke 4:3-4)

The devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered him,
“It is written, One does not live on bread alone.”

Third Decade: The Temptation of Power (Luke 4:5-8)

Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.

The devil said to him,
“I shall give to you all this power and glory;
for it has been handed over to me,
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me.”

Jesus said to him in reply,
“It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve.”

Fourth Decade: The Temptation of Pride (Luke 4:9-12)

Then he led him to Jerusalem,
made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
throw yourself down from here, for it is written:

            He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
            With their hands they will support you,
            lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“It also says,
            You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”

Fifth Decade: Enduring Temptation (Luke 4:13)

When the devil had finished every temptation,
he departed from him for a time.

What to Remember

This Gospel story shows that Jesus remained faithful to God His Father. Jesus refused to accept anything that would betray His Father.

As followers of Jesus, evil bombards us with temptations to betray our friendship with God and each other.

When you feel tempted, and want to quit following God, ask Jesus for the strength to say “No” to the temptations.

God will provide a way out and allow you to remain faithful to Him.

Here are a few intentions to pray for:

  • For more faith and courage to say “No” to evil and sin.
  • That the Holy Spirit will guide you in the wilderness of life, those times of desperation and dryness.
  • For family, friends, and neighbors who are going through rough times and feel like giving up and giving in.
  • That those who deliberately try to get people ensnared in self-defeating behaviors and beliefs will stop and reverse course.
  • For those who face constant temptations because of addictions, that God will deliver and free them to live in a healthy way.

Feel free to pray the rosary using the Gospel when you feel tempted to abandon what God wants most for you.

When This Gospel Appears

Luke’s Gospel account of the Temptation of Jesus in the Desert of Jesus occurs on the First Sunday of Lent in Cycle C of the Liturgical Year.

The most recent appearance is on Sunday, March 6, 2022.

There are three cycles that last a year each, beginning with the First Sunday in Advent in the Church year.

In Cycle A, the Gospel readings are from the Gospel of Matthew.

For Cycle B, the Gospel readings are from the Gospel of Mark and John.

In Cycle C, the Gospel readings are from the Gospel of Luke.

* Scripture passages are from the United Conference of Catholic Bishops website,
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